Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Day 2: Montreal's Past

On the second day of our trip to Montreal, we took a guided tour of the area of the city that we were in known as Old Montreal. We started with a look at the statue of the founder of Montreal, Paul de Chomedey, sieur de Maisonneuve.

We learned that he was chosen to found New France by the French government because he was a soldier and a pious man. Next we visited the Basilica in Montreal and learned of the story of the architect.

For context we were taught the story of the mutual distaste between English speaking and French speaking inhabitants of Montreal. The founders of the church were French Catholics and they wanted the best architect so they swallowed their pride and chose James O'Donnell who was an Irish Protestant. O'Donnell loved his work so much that on his deathbed he converted to Catholicism so he could be buried in his masterpiece.

We also visited the Pointe-à-Callière museum where we learned of the original founding of Montreal and the story of the Mount Royal Cross. The people of Montreal settled on a point between two rivers, and when flood season occurred the rivers began to rise. The people desperately prayed for their fort to be spared. When it was their founder, Maisonneuve, climbed neighboring Mount Royal, which he had previously named after his King, and planted the Cross of Mount Royal which has been replaced and maintained and still watches over the city today.

We also had two perfect meals at a local sandwich shop, Marché de la villette, a pizzeria, Bevo, and a short indulgence at a small “pâtisserie”. Overall it was a great second day in Montreal.

- Sean G.

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